Today is the last day of work for the preservation of air quality in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong and Inner Mongolia. The Hebei province governor has sent a letter to the Party secretaries and mayors of 13 cities asking them to persevere in their effort in keeping AQI under 300 in all localities for a little longer, at the risk of being put in front of their responsibilities if the goals are not met.
In order to keep the air clean for the APEC summit in Beijing, 29 Shijiazhuang cadres have been punished and 9 people responsible for pollution arrested. 4,000 businesses have stopped or severely reduced production, all localities besides Qinghuangdao have imposed radical license plate restrictions and half of the province’s coal-based electric plants have been shut down. As a result, Hebei province has had to apply to the National Electricity Network for a 2,70 million kilowatt/day shift in power from Shandong and Dongbei.
According to the measures for the preservation of air quality during APEC, these exceptional measures are due to end by midnight today.
The article is followed by a short Xinhua commentary wondering how to keep “APEC blue” even after the end of the summit. It explains that this week has shown that air preservation is possible if departments in charge of air quality control really do their work and if factories claiming to have reached the standards in terms of pollution control actually do. It concludes by saying that in order to keep APEC blue, China does not have to count on luck or the wind but on taking real measures.